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Old Jun 14 2008, 11:59 PM   #1
proserpine
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Default Fun with numbers!

Now, I'm no math major, but here is a math problem any way: how old are Damia and Afra when they finally hook up?

When Jeff first visits the Rowan in her Tower and they get to making Jeran, Afra had already been there eight years (pg 81 of the Ace paperback book). That would make him 24 years old when JERAN is conceived. Jeran is 4 years older than Damia (he is 6 when they go to Deneb, whereas Damia is only 2), making Afra 28 when she was born.

But WAIT, there's more! Later in the same book, (Damia in case you're wondering) it goes on to say that Afra "had stunned Damia with his mention of twenty-eight Towered years. But his love had to face the fact that he was twenty-four years her senior" (288). This statement shows that Afra is only twenty when Damia was born, and that Damia is twenty four years old at the time of Sodan's attack.

For more fun, we can also add in the Hiver attack. On page 218, Damia contemplates the fact that "after nearly twenty years the memory of the Deneb penetration had faded from active memory." As we know from both the Rowan and Damia, both Hiver attacks on Deneb occurred before Damia was born. In fact, the second attack happened when the Rowan was pregnant with Cera, who is 2 years older than Damia. This piece of information therefor puts Damia once again under the age of 20 when she shacks up with Afra.

So what can we conclude from these various and contradictory numbers? Damia is either under 18 OR 24 when Sodan attacks. Afra is either 20 OR 27 when Damia is born. Also: Anne McCaffrey fails at basic math.

Here's some more numbers for you since we're on the subject. Damia is 10 when she returns to Callisto, hits puberty at 11 and sleeps with Amr at age 16. Afta realizes he's in love with her when she's only 11 (287). That's kind of creepy.
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Old Jun 15 2008, 02:48 AM   #2
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But he says he didn't until she was 16 or so. Depends on which version you credit. Afra didn't see much of her until just before she seduced and damaged Amr, when she had him put sun-oil on her, literally all over, as she was sunbathing under lamps in the nude.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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Re: Fun with numbers!

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when she had him put sun-oil on her, literally all over, as she was sunbathing under lamps in the nude.
I wrote a rather...um...adult-leaning fic last night, that really straddles the line, doesn't quite cross it, but there's a lot of straddling going on, but then I picked up Damia again today, and realized that it might not, really, straddle the line after all, upon re-reading parts of the book. Unsure if I'll end up posting it ever.

ANYWAY...

The numbers don't really add up, it's true. I generally use the following as my timeline, which takes into account some facts and disregards others:

- Afra came to Callisto when he was 16
- Damia was born when he was 24ish
- Damia caused the little suntan incident when she is 16. She also loses her virginity to Amir at 16, at the same time ruining his Talent, and then practically bites Afra's finger off because he wasn't the one to deflower her. (Vicious, isn't she?)
- Off topic...I wonder what would have happened if she had asked him? I mean, nicely?
- ANYWAY (again) when she's 17 or so she lurks in Larak's wife's head while she's giving birth, causing Afra to totally ignore her for the better part of the year (I think this was what caused him to ignore her?)
- Then at 18 she gets her own tower, the Sodan incident occurs, and they find twoo love under the indulgent nose of Isthia Raven.

It's all a little cracktastic, but I can't help but love them.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 05:06 PM   #4
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But that would make Larak only 15 when his first child is born. Granted it might happen, but Larak definitely seems older than 16 when he dies.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 05:11 PM   #5
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Yeah, the Larak age is a bit wonky, considering he's married with a kid. ::shrug::
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Old Jun 16 2008, 09:23 PM   #6
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I was just about to point that out myself...

Maybe she was older, she just wasn't acting her age?

I really don't like Damia very much - the character or the book.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 09:44 PM   #7
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Wasn't the whole thing with her lurking in Larak's wife mind bootstraped in later? I don't recall there being any mention of it at the time of the Sodan affair and Larak's death, just references in a later book when Anne seemed to have forgotten how young Larak was when he died.
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Old Jun 16 2008, 11:01 PM   #8
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No it's right at the beginning of the chapter (and the original 1969 short story) that Afra reams her out for snooping in Jenna's mind.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 12:19 AM   #9
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...I just caught that thing where he said "seven years earlier", meaning 11 if you take she was 18 when the Sodan thing happened. That *is* kind of creepy, especially considering I'm fairly certain she meant to have Damia at 18 and Afra around 42 or so, and Larak's age of fatherhood was just a goof. (Of course, for all we know, *his* wife was 30 or something...LOL!)

Reminds me of the Pegasus books, with Tirla. Wasn't she only 12? And what's-his-name was going to "wait for her" or something?

Once is...um...bad math. Twice is a bit of a trend. It's almost Heinleinesque, which is quite ironic given there's a quote out there somewhere where AMC wasn't too pleased about the way RAH portrayed women.

Of course, I also note that both times that this has happened, it's been in books involving telepaths, so that, in theory, the question of "true love" or "consent" or whatever can't be in doubt because the other telepaths would catch on if it was.

We could probably get on a pretty good debate here on this idea: how deeply should books be able to explore the socially-unacceptable idea that people can have sexual thoughts or feelings at ages other than the legal majority?

And also, what is the difference between acknowledging a thought/feeling, and acting on it?

Hmmm...we may want to split off another thread...I think I will do that, so we can tag it adult.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 10:53 AM   #10
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That 7 years earlier must be a goof.

Tirla's a special case, since Sasha didn't even realize he cared for her, until he precogged marrying her later. Just face it, the rules are different for people with PSI powers. As well as Tirla having grown up by herself, making her own living since she was about 6, 8 at the very latest. This would make her less naive than the typical Western teenager who's barely let out of her parents' sight except at school until she can drive.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 05:52 PM   #11
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The maths goof of Anne's that I like is at the start of The Tower and the Hive where Admiral Ashiant order the space ship to turn 360° to go home!
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Old Jun 17 2008, 06:08 PM   #12
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Maybe Ashiant was an ijit?
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Old Jun 17 2008, 07:05 PM   #13
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Now that is an Excellent goof, P'ter.

Regarding Afra and Sassha, I can sort of give props to Afra for at least not ACTING on his feelings when Damia was totally hitting on him as a teenager. While we can say things are different for telepathic people in terms of underage sex, the age difference and the fact that he knew her since birth still adds a slight squick factor for me, which is probably why I'd prefer to think Damia is actually 24 when they finally consummate the relationship. Plus that makes Larak 22 which also seems much more realistic for having one seven month old baby and another on the way.

Besides, when Larak dies, Jeran sends Ezro to comfort his widow and if Larak is only 16, that would be sending a kid who is probably barely into the double digits to deal with some very powerful emotions, and that would be dumb.
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Old Jun 17 2008, 08:53 PM   #14
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I agree with you about Afra.

Quote:
Tirla's a special case, since Sasha didn't even realize he cared for her, until he precogged marrying her later. Just face it, the rules are different for people with PSI powers. As well as Tirla having grown up by herself, making her own living since she was about 6, 8 at the very latest. This would make her less naive than the typical Western teenager who's barely let out of her parents' sight except at school until she can drive.
To clarify - Sascha knew he cared for her, just not in that way! He was also aware that Tirla had a huge crush on him as well - although he was also kind of a father figure to her as well. Which may be one of the things that made her crush on him, not having had a father-authority figure before.
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Old Jun 18 2008, 10:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by proserpine View Post
Now that is an Excellent goof, P'ter.

Regarding Afra and Sassha, I can sort of give props to Afra for at least not ACTING on his feelings when Damia was totally hitting on him as a teenager. While we can say things are different for telepathic people in terms of underage sex, the age difference and the fact that he knew her since birth still adds a slight squick factor for me, which is probably why I'd prefer to think Damia is actually 24 when they finally consummate the relationship. Plus that makes Larak 22 which also seems much more realistic for having one seven month old baby and another on the way.

Besides, when Larak dies, Jeran sends Ezro to comfort his widow and if Larak is only 16, that would be sending a kid who is probably barely into the double digits to deal with some very powerful emotions, and that would be dumb.
24 would make more sense and probably would make most of us feel a bit more comfortable about the whole thing, but unfortunately Damia wasn't on Aurigae for all that long before Sodan happened and Laria and Afra got together as a couple. One thing that should be remembered here is that Talents in the Tower books reach their majority at 16 (i.e. they can basically tell their parents to butt out of their lives completely).
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Old Jun 19 2008, 01:24 AM   #16
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24 would make more sense and probably would make most of us feel a bit more comfortable about the whole thing, but unfortunately Damia wasn't on Aurigae for all that long before Sodan happened and Laria and Afra got together as a couple.
Afra and Laria get together as a couple?! Now THAT is a relationship to make the average reader uncomfortable.

The problem with determining how long Damia has been on Aurigae before the Sodan event is that it's never even mentioned how long she'd been there. The narration of the book goes from Damia being sent to Altair to train for six months right after the Amr episode, to her being Arigae Prime and meeting Sodan. The reader only knows that she's both well liked and well established as Tower Prime, both of which suggest that she'd been there for at least a couple months if not years.
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Old Jun 19 2008, 01:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by proserpine View Post
Afra and Laria get together as a couple?! Now THAT is a relationship to make the average reader uncomfortable.
No, no, no, it was a typo--she meant Afra and Larak.

Right? Right?

::takes a dustpan and shoos the sudden cracktastic plot bunnies away::

Quote:
The problem with determining how long Damia has been on Aurigae before the Sodan event is that it's never even mentioned how long she'd been there. The narration of the book goes from Damia being sent to Altair to train for six months right after the Amr episode, to her being Arigae Prime and meeting Sodan. The reader only knows that she's both well liked and well established as Tower Prime, both of which suggest that she'd been there for at least a couple months if not years.
Less than 5 years--because Damia, a few pages before meeting Sodan, was contemplating about how proud she was of herself for settling her Tower staff in less time than her mother's "5 years". (There's another number, if ya want to do the math--was there really only 5 years between when Rowan got Callisto, and when she found Afra, who was presumably the last piece in the puzzle?)

I personally think it's been less than a year since Damia got installed as Prime, but not much less since she's already had several flings with brawny Aurigaen engineers and miners and has settled down with her crew, and has started to build a reputation.

Did Damia hang out in her brother's wife's mind during birth before or after she became Aurigae Prime? If we knew that, that'd give a better timestamp, because when Afra arrives on Aurigae, it's 7 months or something since Damia did that stunt.
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Old Jun 19 2008, 03:59 AM   #18
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Well, even if she has only been at Aurigae for a few months, how long did she spend training at other towers? She could have spent four or five years training around, easy, given that she might spend six month or more at each Prime installation, including Altair, Procyon, Capella, Betelgeuse, Vega, Deneb and even Earth and Callisto toward the end when people wouldn't recognize her anymore as that chick who burned out Amr, and EVEN towers which aren't mentioned in the book but could hypothetically exist. So you know, there's some ways you could pad the dates and make Damia older if you want.

And I do. Quite frankly, I like the older version of Damia better. Mostly because it just works better for Larak.
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Old Jun 19 2008, 10:18 AM   #19
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Ooops, a brain-fart to beat one of Anne's!

Indeed, but that would make the biggest problem worse, i.e. there wasn't much delay between the Sodan incident where Damia was a real bitchy teen and getting together with Afra. Besides, when Thian is on his shipside mission and is hurt, Damia is described as being just over 40 and the best-looking woman on board.
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Old Jun 24 2008, 06:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by P'ter View Post
The maths goof of Anne's that I like is at the start of The Tower and the Hive where Admiral Ashiant order the space ship to turn 360° to go home!
I like it
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